Taoiseach: Trump comments had the 'hallmarks of racism'

Taoiseach: Trump comments had the 'hallmarks of racism'

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said US president Donald Trump's decision to lash out at four US politicians of colour and to tell his critics to leave the country "certainly has the hallmarks of racism".

In a series of messages on social media website Twitter in recent days, Mr Trump said Democratic congress woman Ilhan Omar, who is a Somali-born US citizen can "leave" the US along with her three other congresswomen known as The Squad if "they don't love our country".

The Squad is made up Democratic Congresswomen Alexandria Ocasio Cortez - whom Mr Trump has referred to as "Cortez" because "I don't have time for that many words" - Ayanna Pressley and Rashida Tlaib.

And during a Wednesday night rally in north Carolina, Mr Trump's criticism of Ms Omar led to a crowd of supporters chanting "send her back, send her back".

Asked if Mr Trump's latest comments are racist during an interview on RTÉ Radio's Today With Sean O'Rourke programme, Mr Varadkar said he believed they have the "hallmarks" of racism.

However, he quickly added that he does not believe Mr Trump himself is racist.

After pausing in response to the question, Mr Varadkar said: "They certainly have the hallmarks of racism."

Mr Varadkar has already said he does not believe Mr Trump is racist. In an interview on May 30, 2016 he said: "I think any reasonable person would agree some of the comments he's [then presidential candidate Donald Trump] made are racist, particularly in relation to Latinos and also many of the things he has said are sexist.

"And don't show a positive attitude towards women. But ultimately it is up to American citizens to determine who their president is. But I know how most Irish people would vote. It's up to American citizens to decide who they elect as president.

"We will of course work with whoever Americans decide to elect as president. But I don't think there can be any doubt that many of the speeches he has made were racist and showed a very misogynistic attitude to women."

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